Yorkshire business leaders underprepared for Brexit impact on employees, finds Blacks

More than half of business leaders feel underprepared for changes to employee rights coming as a result of Brexit, Blacks Solicitors has found.

The Leeds law firm’s study of 100 businesses in Yorkshire in June found that 53% of leaders do not feel ready for the UK leaving the EU in March 2019, and 40% are unclear as to how Brexit will affect them.

With 70% of businesses in Leeds currently employing staff from the EU, the research from Blacks also showed that the recruitment process could be significantly affected.

Two fifths (40%) of Leeds business leaders said they would be put off employing someone from the EU after immigration laws change. One quarter (25%) are also concerned that it will be harder to recruit people with the necessary skills, and 26% think the recruitment process will become lengthier and more time consuming.

The study also revealed that it’s not only employees from the EU that will be affected, with 13% of Leeds business leaders saying the recruitment process will become more costly to the business.

Capacity and resource could also become problematic, with 21% saying they are not confident they would be able to replace EU workers with suitable British workers after Brexit.

Louis MacWilliam, immigration expert at Blacks, commented: “With less than seven months to go until Britain leaves the EU, it is worrying that such large numbers of employers still feel in the dark about their ability to retain and recruit EU nationals. This is in spite of the Home Office publishing concrete details about the new mandatory registration scheme for EU nationals, due to open later this year.”

“Leeds businesses rely heavily on EU labour and employers can play an important role in securing the rights of their EU employees. This includes ensuring employees are aware of any eligibility to apply for British citizenship or EU documentation before we leave the EU, as well as the new mandatory system of registration for EU nationals.”

“Employers can keep abreast of recent changes by signing up for regular Home Office email updates about the status of EU nationals. Employers can seek advice from legal immigration experts on how best to secure the rights of EU employees, including eligibility for British citizenship. They can also review the current migrant workforce to allow for more effective long-term recruitment planning and to help mitigate risk around Brexit.”

Blacks Solicitors is hosting a series of seminars and training sessions on immigration and the Brexit process.